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Small college town gives grads a drive-by celebration

Hannah Brown
Barclay College President Dr. Royce Frazier waves to graduates during a surprise celebratory parade in Haviland past 2020 graduate homes. The line of cars in the graduation parade on Sunday extended several blocks in Haviland.

Sunday, May 3 was supposed to be a celebratory day for the Barclay College family. Year 2020 graduates were set to walk across the stage to receive their associates, bachelors, or masters degrees, but COVID-19 made that impossible. Instead, the staff and faculty at the college, and community of Haviland took part in a surprise parade to celebrate the hard work of the graduates.

“It’s an important day for every graduate,” said Royce Frazier, BC President. “It’s a marker in their lives that signals a great accomplishment that will forever acknowledge a platform of success for those who achieve a degree,”

The idea originated in a virtual meeting, when Casey Roberts asked if anything specific was being done on May 3 to celebrate the original graduation day. Brockie Follette, BC Chaplain, became the driving force being the initial thought, and made the vision a reality.

Several 2020 Barclay graduates live in the town of Haviland which has a few more than 700 residents. The vehicle parade wove its way through sleepy streets that came alive with honking and waving supporters on Sunday afternoon. Graduates on hand for the celebration included Cathy Martinez, Karalyn and Tyree Singleton, Justin Hall, Sarah Easerwood, Isaac and Sarah Cox, Kayla Collick, Dalton Racster-Hall, Ethan White, Hannah Brown, Madi Schneider, and Rebekah Fitch.

In a tight knit community like Barclay College, being separated because of the virus has taken a toll on everyone. The organizers of the parade said it was just one way to bring some people in the community back together.

“I really missed the corporate celebration we have on this weekend that connects graduates, staff, faculty, parents, current students, and alumni,” said Follette. “But this was fun. It was something at least.”

Barclay College is planning to celebrate the class of 2020 with a graduation ceremony on October 4, 2020.